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Minty Split Pea Soup


In The Prince and the Large and Lonely Tortoise the Tortoise, in her lovely human form, attends the feast and pours rice swollen in butter over her hair, which turns into pearls, and a thick green soup which turns into emeralds.

This reminded me of a Middle Eastern soup I’ve made several times, this elegant soup with split peas and mint. I feel that it’s pretty representative of the region, with the ubiquitous lentils and very common mint. It’s perfect for this wintery weather, but you could make it with fresh peas come spring.

Minty Split Pea Soup

From Artichoke to Za’atar: Modern Middle Eastern Cooking by Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small head butter lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt & white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups split peas
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • salt & white pepper
  • whipped yogurt and chopped mint for garnish

In a soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chopped butter lettuce and saute until wilted. Add mint, a generous pinch salt, and a sprinkle white pepper, and stir well.

Add split peas and vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until split peas are soft. Add mint, and cook another 3 or 4 minutes.

Puree in a blender (hold a tea towel over the top so it doesn’t explode) and pour back into the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning (add more salt) if necessary.

Serve hot with a dollop of whipped yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped mint.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 9: ARABIAN NIGHTS

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